F-1, J-1 students, J-1 Research Scholars/Professors and all dependents that plan to travel outside of the United States and return to Kansas State University must bring their I-20 or DS-2019 to the International Student and Scholar Services office so it can be signed for re-entry into the U.S. This should be done 2 to 3 weeks prior to traveling. Note that if your DS-2019 was not issued by K-State, you will need to contact your program sponsor for this signature. If you are traveling within the U.S., you do not need to have your documents signed for travel but you are required to carry your passport and I-20 or DS-2019 with you at all times. F-1 and J-1 students must complete the Travel Signature Request Form and submit along with your original I-20/DS-2019.
CBP (U.S. Customs and Border Protection) now gathers travelers’ arrival/departure information automatically from their electronic travel records. Because advance information is only transmitted for air and sea travelers, CBP will still issue a paper form I-94 at land border ports of entry. If you were issued a paper form, upon exiting the U.S. the traveler should surrender the I-94 to the commercial carrier or to CBP upon departure. See the following link for more information regarding the I-94 https://www.cbp.gov/travel/international-visitors/i-94-instructions.
You should keep your passport valid for 6 months into the future. If you notice that the expiration date on your passport is approaching, go to the Department of State's website at for a listing of foreign consular offices in the U.S. You may need to send your passport to your consulate in order to renew it. When sending your passport through the mail, it is a good idea to send it by certified mail or by a courier service, such as FedEx or DHL, which will allow you to track your passport. Also be sure to keep your receipt so that you can prove that the passport was sent for renewal.
The visa stamp that is in your passport can expire while you are in the United States. The visa stamp is used only for entry into the U.S. If you leave the U.S. and plan to return but your visa stamp has expired or you have changed your nonimmigrant status while inside the U.S., you will need to get a new visa before reentering the U.S. Please note that visa stamps can only be issued outside of the United States. For more information on U.S. visas, visit the U.S. Department of State's webpage.
For tips on applying for a visa, visit NAFSA: Association of International Educators web site, "10 Points to Remember When Applying for a Nonimmigrant Visa."
To find additional information regarding traveling, please read the following document:
Traveling Tips for International Students
Need to obtain a New Visa Stamp to re-enter the U.S.?
If you visit countries outside the United States other than Canada, Mexico, or an adjacent island, you must have a valid F or J visa stamp in your passport to re-enter the United States. (Students from Iran, Sudan and Syria must always have a valid visa when entering the U.S.) This is essential in addition to having a signed form I-20 or DS-2019. If your visa is no longer valid, you must take your passport and you I-20 or DS-2019 to the nearest United States Consulate or Embassy in the country you are visiting to apply for a new visa stamp. Evidence of financial support for your studies in the U.S. must also be presented. Also, be advised that you may encounter problems or delays if you attempt to get a new visa outside your home country. Before you leave for a trip outside the U.S., consult the International Student and Scholar Services to determine whether or not you need a new visa stamp.
Visiting Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean area--automatic revalidation information. If you are traveling to Canada, Mexico, or adjacent islands other than Cuba for less than 30 days, you may be eligible to reenter the U.S. without obtaining a visa stamp. Please see an International Student Advisor for more information on this revalidation benefit.
If you have been outside the U.S. for period of five months or more, you should apply for a new visa. It may be necessary to explain your situation and reason for applying for a new visa to the consular officer. Some Ports of Entry may not allow you to enter if you do not obtain a new visa after a significant absence such as this. Please contact our office with any additional questions regarding an absence from the U.S. greater than five months.
Traveling to a country other than your country of citizenship?
If you are traveling to Mexico, Canada, or any country that is not your country of citizenship, you may need a visa to enter that country. The following contacts may be helpful to determine if you need a visa to enter another country.
More detailed instructions regarding the visa process can be found on the appropriate website:
- Department of State: https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/general/nonimmigrants-present-visiting-canada-mexico.html.
- To Book an Appointment in Mexico: https://mx.usembassy.gov/visas/studyinginusa/
- To Book an Appointment in Canada: https://ca.usembassy.gov/visas/categories-and-requirements/